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MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's new military doctrine does not rule out pre-emptive nuclear strikes against potential aggressors, the head of its Security Council said on Wednesday.
"An option is stipulated for the possibility of using nuclear weapons depending on the situation and the intentions of a potential enemy," Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview in the Wednesday edition of the Izvestia newspaper.
"In situations critical for national security, a nuclear strike, including a pre-emptive one, against an aggressor is not ruled out," he went on.
Patrushev said that the adjustment of the country's military doctrine, the new version of which will be prepared and submitted to the Russian president for consideration by the end of the year, was prompted by real threats and dangers faced by Russia.
The current military doctrine was adopted in 2000. It outlines the role of the Russian military in ensuring the defense of the country and, if necessary, preparing for and waging war, although it stresses that the Russian military doctrine is strictly defensive.
Patrushev also told Izvestia that Russia supports Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy, but stands against the expansion of the so-called nuclear club.
Speaking on Wednesday on the Moscow-based radio station Ekho Moskvy, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. military doctrine did not contain a clause on pre-emptive nuclear strikes.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.